The Gifts of (Extra)Ordinary Days

the-gifts-of-extraordinary-daysTen years into mothering I know how to embrace the moment, how to take deep breaths and steps back. How to savor belly laughs and ringlets and curly bows. Laced fingers and delicious cheeks. Mispronounced words and sleepy eyes. Warm good mornings and bigger hugs.

In my better moments, I savor these with ease.

I confidently know how to shake my head at my own bad moments-hours-days and savor the goodness wedged between the hard spots of mothering young children.

Because after a time of being entrenched in the known, of stepping so solidly and frequently into sameness that becomes familiar terrain, I know (mostly) what to expect.

I’ve learned that it does, indeed, get better. That the days are long, but the years are short. That letting go is freeing. And that no harm has, in fact, been done by an extra cookie, a missed bath, a later than usual bedtime.

I’ve learned that it does, indeed, get better. That the days are long, but the years are short. That letting go is freeing. And that no harm has, in fact, been done by an extra cookie, a missed bath, a later than usual bedtime.

So noting the extraordinary in what is ordinary has become a known.

But what happens to that ability when you start tiptoeing into new?

Into the unchartered territory of older kids and busier schedules and hormones that that I’m quite certain are bursting through my home at this very moment?

How do you find those gifts – and I firmly believe that’s exactly what they are – in what is new and daunting and not at all familiar?

I look at my daughter and don’t know what she’s thinking. I stand in a store holding cute tops, but am unsure which one she’ll love. I pick out a nail color for her and quickly realize (Read: am told) that it’s not the one she likes.

This is all so new and so much, and yet, I know from experience that the extraordinary is there.

It’s just as bright and glittery and savor-worthy as it is in the known, but I don’t necessarily know how to look for it, or how to see it.

{ MORE:  Lemons & Lemonade }

I’m reading Katrina Kenison’s The Gift of an Ordinary Day right now, and here’s what she says about that.

Finding the extraordinary in newness lies in, “The willingness, on our part, to refine and redefine our own idea of what ‘the best’ might really mean.”

What it really comes down to, she says, is to quiet ourselves, to listen attentively, and to be open to change.

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It’s really as simple as that? I wondered as I read her words.

I’ve watched her youtube videos and had the great honor of hearing her speak live, so I trust that she speaks from the deep parts of truth where raw meets real and personal meets universal.

But still: be quiet, listen more, and be open to change? These are the secrets to staying in tune to life’s sweet moments – gifts – even when on the cusp of change and new and different and scary?

And then I realized, yes, these. Exactly these.

These are what we learn to do as mothers of young children. We learn that the days puzzle piece to each other with the best possible fit when we step back, listen well, say less than we have to say, and open ourselves to the possibility that we don’t know what the next steps are, nor do we have to.

Feed the Cheerios, then decide to go to the park.

Buy the underwear, then ask all of your friends how they potty trained.

Dole out cake, see what happens.

Quiet down, listen more, be open to change.

So it makes perfect sense that that’s exactly what we need to do as our children get older.

I’ll savor taking my girl shopping and seeing her maneuver a store with ease and grace. I’ll watch her choose her nail polish with the same concentration she once used to pick up Cheerios between pudgy fingers. I’ll ask her what she’s reading and listen as she explains in great detail the worlds she dives into.

And when I do this, what I’m quite certain I’ll find – see, notice — is those golden, glittery extraordinary moments that are right there, waiting to be savored.

What do you think?

The Gifts of (Extra)Ordinary Days

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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3 comments

  1. LIZ says:

    i remember those days when i was a kid and i want my baby to have a funny childhood memories

  2. Kelley says:

    I needed to read this. I read it twice. Once yesterday, and again tonight – so that it would really sink in. Rarely do I take the time to respond to something online, but I this one truly made me think, and recognize my need to embrace each day and the moments each day brings – both new and “ordinary”…

  3. Arnebya says:

    I love how you always strive to be aware, to experience fully your life and children (but remembering that there are always “better moments”).

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